Saturday, March 02, 2024 |
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The coronavirus pandemic has folks paying more to stock up at the grocery store and eat at home. (Barbara Helgason/Dreamstime/TNS)
The coronavirus pandemic has folks paying more to stock up at the grocery store and eat at home.
Grocery prices saw their biggest monthly increase in nearly 50 years last month, according to the latest report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The index for meats, poultry, fish and eggs increased the most among food groups, rising 4.3%. A separate index for eggs alone increased 16.1%.
The index for cereals and bakery products also rose 2.9% in April, its largest monthly increase ever.
All six major grocery store food groups increased at least 1.5% month-to-month, the Labor Department said.
Overall, consumers paid 2.6% more in April for groceries, which is the largest one-month jump since February 1974.
The increase in food prices came in a period in which more than 20 million Americans lost their jobs.
Two of President Donald Trump’s top economic advisers recently projected that unemployment will continue to climb, with one official predicting that the unemployment rate will jump to 20% in the near future, the Washington Post reported. This will continue to drive households into food insecurity.
The business of food away from home changed, too. As restaurants navigated these uncharted waters, prices looked like this: Food away from home nationally was up 2.8% year-over-year. The cost of full service meals and snacks rose 2.4% and the cost of limited service meals and snacks rose 3.2%.
With stay-at-home orders still in place and many people working from home, there’s little need to dress for work. That was reflected in apparel prices, which fell 5.7% in a year nationally.
Gas is much cheaper, costing 32% less nationally over the last 12 months for motor fuel of all types. The drop is tied to slashed prices of crude oil globally, officials said.
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is a measure of the average change in prices over time in a fixed market basket of goods and services. It’s based on prices of food, clothing, shelter, fuels, and transportation fares, along with charges for doctors’ and dentists’ services, drugs, and the other goods and services that people buy for day-to-day living.
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